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UPDATE 1-Corteva posts smaller-than-expected loss, North America seed volumes rise

rise@ (Adds details on Midland investment, estimates)

Oct 31 (Reuters) - Pesticides and seeds producer Corteva Inc posted a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss on Thursday as seed sales jumped after historic floods in the U.S. Midwest delayed the spring planting season.

The producer of soy and corn seeds said total volumes rose 3%, even as it faced challenges from an ongoing U.S.-China trade war that has cut U.S. exports of soybeans to top buyer China.

Income in its crop protection business, which sells insecticides and herbicides, was hit after the company booked some of its expected third-quarter Latin America sales in the previous quarter.

Dry weather in Brazil also delayed planting in the top soybean exporter to the fourth quarter.

The company also said it now expects full-year core earnings at the bottom end of its prior forecast of $1.9 billion to $2.05 billion, largely due to a weaker Brazilian real.

The former agricultural unit of DowDuPont also tightened its 2019 operating earnings per share forecast to between $1.20 and $1.26 per share from an earlier estimate of $1.06 to $1.31.

Separately, the company also approved a $145 million investment in its Midland, Michigan manufacturing plant.

The investment, expected to generate more than $100 million of annual core earnings for Corteva once fully online, will increase the company's capacity to produce 30% more Spinosyns - an insect control product.

Net loss from continuing operations attributable to Corteva narrowed to $527 million, or 69 cents per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, from $5.34 billion, or $7.13 per share. The year earlier period included a $4.5 billion goodwill impairment charge.

Excluding items, Corteva posted a loss of 39 cents per share, lower than the 46-cent loss per share that analysts estimated, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Net sales fell 2% to $1.91 billion, primarily because of a weaker Brazilian real and the euro, while organic sales stayed flat compared to a year earlier.

Analysts on average had estimated revenue of about $2 billion. (Reporting by Nishara Karuvalli Pathikkal and Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)